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v Crystal Palace

Sunday 21 September K.O. 16:00



Emirates Stadium | 8th December 2013 16:00 | Attendance - 60001

Arsenal v Everton

Gerard Deulofeu came off the bench to earn Everton a 1-1 draw in a pulsating clash at the Emirates Stadium.

The on-loan Barcelona attacker struck five minutes before the end as the Blues launched a late rally to salvage a point following Mesut Ozil's opener moments earlier.

The German playmaker's 80th minute goal looked to have sewn-up another victory for the Premier league leaders.

But Everton - and Deulofeu - had other ideas as they stretched their unbeaten run to eight matches and consolidated fifth position in the table.

Before kick-off all 60,001 inside the Emirates showed their appreciation for the late, great Nelson Mandela with a period of applause.

Once the action began, Everton started like they finished at Old Trafford four days earlier, hitting Arsenal at pace with their slick stylish football.

The Gunners, who had began the day four points clear at the summit of the table, were pegged back for large periods, much to the frustration of the home support.

On the contrary, Everton - as always - were roared forward by the vocal travelling contingent. 'Allez, Allez, Allez, Oh' was the prominent chant ringing around this fabulous arena.

The Toffees gained control of the contest by simply out-passing the league leaders, but when it came to the final third, Martinez's men could not conjure up that final finishing ball or touch for much of the opening half.

On several occasions, patiently created half-chances, were not capitalised upon, notably when Kevin Mirallas's low cross was just out of the reach of his Belgian compatriot Romelu Lukaku.

Sylvain Distin, searching for his first goal in over a year dragged a shot wide after Arsenal had failed to properly clear a corner. Barkley also saw an effort deflected over.

It took Arsenal the best part of half an hour to get a foothold in the contest - but when they did Everton had to dig deep to keep the hosts at bay in the lead-up to half-time.

Kieron Gibbs was inches away from converting Santi Cazorla's right-winged centre and twice the clean-shaven Tim Howard produced excellent blocks with his legs.

Firstly, the American raced from his line to thwart Olivier Giroud before producing a similar save to prevent the in-form Aaron Ramsey from breaking the deadlock.

A few tough tackles added some extra needle to the contest, though it remained all-square at the interval.

Howard was twice called upon again at the start of the second half, making saves from the same two players he had denied prior to the break.

His stop from Ramsey was excellent; flying to his left to tip the Welshman's sliding volley around the post.

Wojciech Szczesny, at the other end, was also required to beat away a fizzing 25-yard drive from Steven Pienaar who had strode forward to thump goalwards after a clever flick from Ross Barkley.

Challenges - some legitimate, others not so - continued to fly in. James McCarthy was brandished a yellow card just after the hour mark, a booking which means he will now be suspended for the visit of Fulham to Goodison Park next weekend.

After Szczesny beat away Barkley's scorching shot on 70 minutes, Arsene Wenger decided it was time for a treble change as Tomas Rosicky, Theo Walcott and Mathieu Flamini were all thrust into the action from the bench.

Flamini almost marked his introduction with a goal but his skidding attempt from just inside the box missed the target by the narrowest of margins.

Everton continued to give as good as they got and twice in a minute they were close to edging ahead.

Mirallas powered forward and saw a shot deflected into the side-netting, while Distin headed over at the far post.

However, it was Arsenal who claimed the late breakthrough in the 81st minute.

£45million man Ozil was in the right place to convert from close range from Walcott's drag-back.

The Emirates erupted with delight in celebration of a goal the home fans presumed would be enough to clinch victory.

'1-0 to the Arsenal' they chanted - but they were soon silenced by super-sub Deulofeu.

The little Spaniard, who had been thrown on by Roberto Martinez, found half a yard of space in the box before blasting Everton back level.

The on-loan winger's effort, from an acute angle, had too much pace for Szczesny and sent the 3,000 strong travelling fans wild.

The goal was a tremendous indicator of the belief shown by Everton under Martinez - the Blues simply never know when they are beaten.

There was even chance for Lukaku to win it in stoppage time, but his left-foot shot after breaking clear sailed over the bar.

Likewise, Arsenal could have snatched it, with Giroud's rocket striking the crossbar even further into time added on.

As it was, a point a piece was just about right at the end of this breathtaking encounter.



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